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All In The Family - Montgomery Overall Service Inc.

"They told me I'd be out of business in six months," said Peter Zwart referring to the challenge a former employer made when Zwart decided to start his own uniform rental and laundering business. Forty years later, the business that began as a family run pressing and drycleaning operation in the garage behind Zwart's Montgomery, NY home, is one of the largest and most established uniform rental and sales outfits in the tri-state area.

Montgomery Overall Service Inc. (MOS) of Maybrook, NY provides uniform sales, rentals and maintenance (laundering and drycleaning) to approximately 900 clients in nine counties and three states. Customers include auto shops, doctors and dentists offices, schools, stores and offices. The company also offers medical garments, dust control, custom logos and monogramming and sales and rentals of entry mats and mops. "I started with no customers and an empty truck," said Zwart about his early days. While looking for used machinery, Zwart purchased uniforms and began supplying customers starting with one route. He would take the uniforms to the laundromat to wash after midnight and then bring them home to be starched and pressed by his mom and wife on ironing boards set up in the house. His dad was in charge of a side mat business.

When machinery was purchased the cleaning and pressing operation moved to the garage behind the family's Montgomery home and in 1962 Montgomery Overall Service (MOS) was incorporated. For the next twenty years the business ran from the garage until the company purchased its' current Maybrook location in 1980. And it's still a family business.

Aside from his 20 employees Zwart works alongside his mother (who still helps out at 93), and his children. Eldest son Ed serves as vice president and plant operations manager. Daughter, Bonnie, is secretary and office administrator. Another son, Arnie, oversees the route drivers while his wife, Gina, works in the office. Donna, another daughter, is the shipping clerk while the youngest son, Brian, works as a truck mechanic and substitute route driver. The youngest daughter, Linda, works in the biohazard area and designs custom logo emblems and monogramming.

"We had 5,000 square feet up until 4 years ago when we added 9,000 square feet," said Zwart who noted that the whole production area now operates out of the new facility while the older building is mostly used for storage. The entire plant is currently 14,000 square feet and the business handles approximately 7,000 pounds of laundry daily.

Keeping the operation running are two, 125-pound and two, 275 pound Washex washer-extractors, one, 400-pound Consolidated dryer, a Union drycleaner, a Leonard steam tunnel, a Chicago single roll ironer, one Unipress utility press and a hot water heater. The newest addition was a 275 pound Washex tilting washer extractors purchased from E. Weit Machinery Co. of Hillside, NJ last year.

In the interest of conservation, the heater takes water from the drycleaner, heats it and it's used in the washers before leaving the facility. According to Zwart they also put in a partial recycler for the washer water. Recently MOS has seen an increase in the amount of medical goods that they handle. "We're doing more because OSHA is on to medical facilities that they can no longer take home their uniforms (i.e.nurses) and clean them themselves - they have to do them in-house or outsource," explained Zwart.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Gulf Coast Laundry Acquired by Swisher Hygine

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Swisher Hygiene Inc., a provider of hygiene and sanitation products and services, announced that it acquired Gulf Coast Laundry Services of Mississippi, LLC (“Gulf Coast Laundry Services”), a Mississippibased linen services company.

Gulf Coast Laundry Services provides linen rental and laundry services throughout southern Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, primarily to hotel, casino and resort customers. Concurrent with the acquisition, the founder of Gulf Coast Laundry Services, David Gross, will join Swisher Hygiene and contribute to the continued growth of its linen services business.

Total consideration paid by Swisher Hygiene in connection with the acquisition includes approximately $4.8 million in cash and the issuance of a convertible promissory note which may be converted into a maximum of 350,000 shares of Swisher Hygiene common stock subject to certain restrictions, including acceptance by the Toronto Stock Exchange.